Tag: Facebook

Your Facebook Account Is Giving Away Your Personal Info Onto The Internet. Here’s how to stop it.

Facebook is kind of a mess right now. And there are plenty of equally messy reaction pieces cajoling you, and everyone you know, to delete your account in a massive middle finger to the web’s prevailing social network.

That’s the easy take and, honestly, we’ve experienced this mob response before. Did you #DeleteFacebook then? Me neither.

We think it’s worth considering a more measured approach. The sky might be falling, but you can still be a lot smarter about social media—what data you share with it and what data you let third-party apps and services see—without opting out of social networking entirely.

There’s still some good left in Facebook. Let’s consider all our options before doing anything rash.

Should you really delete Facebook this time? Maybe.

If you’re overly concerned about Facebook’s data-collection practices, you’ll probably feel a lot better if you start distancing yourself from the social network.

It’s healthier, too. Let’s recap the three major techniques you can try:

  • Just stop using the social network
  • Deactivate your Facebook account
  • Delete thyself

When you’re ready to say goodbye, let Facebook know, and be prepared to stay away from your account.

Deleting everything about you takes some time—up to 90 days—and if you log back in before Facebook “wipes” your account, this might interrupt the process.

Change your mind, and you’ll have to start the countdown all over again.

The deletion process is fairly extreme, so make sure you’ve set up your digital life before you depart.

That includes transferring ownership of any pages or groups you manage to those who will carry the torch once your profile has vanished into the digital ether.

Don’t forget to log out of all Facebook sessions and remove the apps from your mobile devices. And don’t use Facebook’s single-sign-on feature to log into websites anymore, lest you accidentally stop your account’s deletion.

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How To Unsend Messages You’ve Sent in Your Top Apps

Whether it’s a typo, automatic spell check, or wrong video, most of us have experienced the situation where we can’t unsend incorrect messages on apps.

You might be talking with your boss, mom, or friend, when you realize that your message is messed up. If you’re already thinking “no turning back now,” don’t sweat it.

There are actually ways to navigate tech (yes, no kidding), so you can save yourself from embarrassing message mistakes.

Facebook Messenger

Version 191 of Facebook Messenger in the Apple App Store comes with all the tech fixings, including the capability to send voice messages, chat with businesses, and show message reactions with stickers.

Currently, you can only remove messages you send on your own device, but that will change soon.

According to Facebook Messenger, there are new features on the way, including the option to remove a message from a chat thread after you send it.

For example, if you accidentally send incorrect information or message the wrong thread, you can fix it by removing the message up to 10 minutes after you sent it.


Instagram might be the easiest app for message troubleshooting. Removing a previously sent message only takes three steps: Tap the arrow on your Instagram feed, choose the conversation to find the message you would like to unsend, then tap and hold the message to select “unsend.”

Your bad message will disappear from your conversation feed in a pinch. The one downside though is people might see your message error before your correct it, so be mindful of that when you’re using the app.


WhatsApp makes it easy to remove a bad message. On the app, you can delete messages for everyone in a few easy steps.

To delete messages you’ve sent in an individual chat or group, open the app, go to the chat with the message mistake, tap and hold the message, and then tap “delete” at the top of the screen.

A benefit of this feature is that you have up to 60 minutes to delete previously sent messages, but your recipients might see your message before it’s deleted or if you can’t remove it right away.

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Facebook Launches New Video Chat Device, Fuelling Privacy Concerns

Facebook plans to put a camera that watches your every move in millions of homes worldwide with the launch of its Portal device.

The tablet-like system, featuring a 10-inch screen, allows users to make video calls over Facebook’s Messenger app and represents its first push into the hardware market.

However, as Facebook continues to grapple with the fallout from its data breach scandal, Portal’s recording abilities are likely to fuel privacy concerns and questions over whether consumers will want to install them in their living rooms.

Portal, and a larger 15-inch Portal+ model, are billed by Facebook as a smart home device designed to let users make calls to friends and family. Users activate the device by using the wake word “Portal” to make calls.

Facebook has also installed Amazon’s Alexa on Portal for smart home functions. Alexa will let users of Portal use voice commands for music on Spotify or asking questions.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Facebook’s head of VR and AR hardware Andrew Bosworth denied the launch of the product had been delayed following a scandal over data privacy.

Reports earlier this year suggested it had been held back. “We had always planned for a fall launch,” Bosworth said.

The devices will go on sale in the US in November. Facebook plans to release them elsewhere but has yet to reveal details.

Facebook has also been dealing with fallout from a hack of Facebook profiles that has seen the accounts of 50 million users compromised.

The launch of Portal comes less than a fortnight after the bug was discovered on the main Facebook app.

It added that all of Portal’s artificial intelligence capabilities were kept on the device, rather than relayed into the cloud.

While the device has a camera, Facebook said that a button to turn off the camera and microphone would cut power to them entirely. The Portal will also come with a camera cover to block out the webcam.

Facebook-owned Oculus recently revealed a new virtual reality headset, the Oculus Quest.

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How to Check If Your Facebook Account Got Hacked

At the end of last month, Facebook made a bombshell disclosure: As many as 90 million of its users may have had their so-called access tokens—which keep you logged into your account, so you don’t have to sign in every time—stolen by hackers.

Last Friday, the company put the actual number at 30 million. Here’s how to see if you were one of them, and if so, what the hackers got from your account.

There might understandably be some confusion around the matter; a few weeks ago, Facebook logged out 90 million of its users out of an abundance of caution, making them reset their passwords and negating the access token hack.

Over the next few days, Facebook will insert a customized message into the News Feeds of the 30 million people whose accounts were actually impacted, based on the extent of the damage.

People’s accounts have already been secured by the action we took two weeks ago to reset the access tokens for people who were potentially exposed—no one needs to log out again, and no one needs to change their password,” says Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management.

We’ll be explaining what information the attackers may have accessed as well as steps they can take to help protect themselves from any suspicious emails or text messages or calls that could potentially result from this kind of information being exposed.

If you don’t want to wait for the message to hit your News Feed to find out if you’re okay, go ahead and see if you were among those hit at this page.

Scroll past the background paragraph, and you’ll see a header that reads Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?

From there, you’ll see one of three outcomes. If it says that based on what Facebook knows so far, you’re not impacted, you should be in the clear pending any revelations.

The company says that one million of the 30 million people who had their access tokens stolen didn’t have any of their data comprised.

The remaining 29 million users will see one of two messages, depending on the extent of the damage. Fifteen million of them had their name, email addresses, and phone number accessed by hackers.

While that’s not ideal by any accounting, the remaining 14 million Facebook users are left with a much worse result.

In addition to the basic contact information above, the list of details hackers accessed is long: username, date of birth, gender, devices you used Facebook on, and your language settings, at the very least.

If you filled out the relationship status, religion, hometown, current city, work, education, or website sections of your profile, they got that too.

And most unsettling of all, they could have accessed the 10 most recent locations you checked into or were tagged in, and the 15 most recent searches you’ve entered into the Facebook search bar.

Facebook says they’ve seen no signs yet that attackers used its access tokens to infiltrate third-party apps and services, as was technically possible.

And it maintains that no account passwords or credit card information was compromised. But the amount of information, and its sensitive nature, should be a boon to phishers and scammers for years to come.

You can change your password or cancel a credit card. Your hometown will always be just that. And where you’ve been and whom you’ve searched for are deeply personal parts of your life, both online and in the real world.

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Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users

Facebook, already facing scrutiny over how it handles the private information of its users, said on Friday that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.

The breach, which was discovered this week, was the largest in the company’s 14-year history. The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts and potentially take control of them.

The news could not have come at a worse time for Facebook.

It has been buffeted over the last year by scandal, from revelations that a British analytics firm got access to the private information of up to 87 million users to worries that disinformation on Facebook has affected elections and even led to deaths in several countries.

Senior executives have testified several times this year in congressional hearings where some lawmakers suggested that the government will need to step in if the social network is unable to get tighter control of its service.

On Friday, regulators and lawmakers quickly seized on the breach to renew calls for more oversight.

This is another sobering indicator that Congress needs to step up and take action to protect the privacy and security of social media users,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia and one of Facebook’s most vocal critics in Congress, said in a statement.

A full investigation should be swiftly conducted and made public so that we can understand more about what happened.”

In the conference call on Friday, Guy Rosen, a vice president of product management at Facebook, declined to say whether the attack could have been coordinated by hackers supported by a nation-state.

Three software flaws in Facebook’s systems allowed hackers to break into user accounts, including those of the top executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, according to two people familiar with the investigation but not allowed to discuss it publicly.

Once in, the attackers could have gained access to apps like Spotify, Instagram and hundreds of others that give users a way to log into their systems through Facebook.

The software bugs were particularly awkward for a company that takes pride in its engineering: The first two were introduced by an online tool meant to improve the privacy of users.

The third was introduced in July 2017 by a tool meant to easily upload birthday videos.

Facebook said it had fixed the vulnerabilities and notified law enforcement officials. Company officials do not know the identity or the origin of the attackers, nor have they fully assessed the scope of the attack or if particular users were targeted.

The investigation is still in its beginning stages.

Facebook has been roundly criticized for being slow to acknowledge a vast disinformation campaign run by Russian operatives on its platform and other social media outlets before the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook has been reshuffling its security teams since Alex Stamos, its chief security officer, left in August for a teaching position at Stanford University.

Instead of acting as a stand-alone group, security team members now work more closely with product teams across the company.

The move, the company said, is an effort to embed security across every step of Facebook product development.

Users who posted breaking stories about the breach from The Guardian, The Associated Press and other outlets were prompted with a notice that their posts had been taken down.

So many people were posting the stories, they looked like suspicious activity to the systems that Facebook uses to block abuse of its network.

We removed this post because it looked like spam to us,” the notice said.

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This Is How You Can Help Stop Fake News From Spreading On Facebook

Many people don’t realize that you can report fake news when you see it on Facebook. This helps stop it from spreading. The problem is that the option is kind of hidden.

So here’s how to use it.

1. When you see false information like this hoax, click on the “v” menu in the upper-right corner of the post.

2. That pops up a menu. Choose “Report post.

3. Then choose “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook.”

4. Now select “It’s a false news story.

5. Great job, you just told Facebook that they need to help stop that story from spreading. You then have the option to hide all future posts from that person or page, or to permanently block them.

Now you know how to fight fake news on Facebook. It’s also important to closely read links and posts before you share or like them.

Ask yourself: Have I seen this source/website before? Are they pointing to credible sources to back up their claims? Are other sites I trust also reporting this?

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Facebook And NYU Want To Use AI To Make MRI Exams 10 Times Faster

MRI scans may some day be available for a lot more people in need.

Facebook on Monday said it’s teaming up with NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology to launch “fastMRI,” a collaborative research project that aims to use artificial intelligence to make MRI — magnetic resonance imaging that is 10 times faster.

Doctors and radiologists use MRI scanners to produce images that show in detail a patient’s organs, blood vessels, bones, soft issues and such, which helps doctors diagnose problems.

However, completing a MRI scan can take from 15 minutes to over an hour, according to Facebook’s blog post.

That’s challenging for children and patients in a lot of pain, who can’t lie still for a long time. It also limits how many scans the hospital can do in a day.

If the project succeeds, MRI scans could be completed in about five minutes, thus making time for more people in need to receive scans.

The idea is to actually capture less data during MRI scans, making them faster, and then use AI to “fill in views omitted from the accelerated scan,” Facebook said in its blog post. The challenge is doing this without missing any important details.

Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research, or FAIR, will work with NYU medical researchers to train artificial neural networks to recognize the structures of human body.

The project will use image data from 10,000 clinical cases with roughly 3 million MRIs of the knee, brain and liver. Patients’ names and medical information aren’t included.

We hope one day that because of this project, MRI will be able to replace a x-rays for many applications, also leading to decreased radiation exposure to patients,” said Michael Recht, MD, chair of department of radiology at NYU School of Medicine, in an email statement.

Our collaboration is one between academia and industry in which we can leverage our complementary strengths to achieve a real-world result.

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Facebook Researchers Use AI To Fix Blinking In Photos

Facebook seems to be going all in on building a strong AI-footprint for its platform and now the social media giant has published a new study which focuses on some AI-based tools that fix selfies ruined by blinking.

There are times when we try to take the perfect selfie and while the whole frame turns out exactly as we wanted, our eyes blink in between and ruin the picture.

This is where the new Facebook tool based on AI comes in as it can literally replace your closed eyes with an open pair just by studying as well as analysing your previous pictures.

The idea of opening closed eyes isn’t a new one in a portrait, however, the process involves pulling the source material from another photo directly and then transplanting it onto the blinking face.

Adobe has a similar but way more simplified software called Photoshop Elements that has a mode built for this purpose.

When you use Photoshop Elements, the program prompts you to pick another photo from the same session, since it assumes that you took more than one, in which the same person’s eyes are open.

It then uses Adobe’s AI tech, Sensei, in order to try and blend the open eyes from the previous image directly into the shot with the blink.

The Facebook AI tool is somewhat similar to this and there are also some small details which the Adobe’s software can’t always get right such as specific lighting conditions or directions of shadows.

On the other hand, the Facebook Research methodology, the same process of replacing closed eyes with open ones is dependent on a deep neural network that will supply the missing data while using the context of the area present around the closed eyes.

The Facebook AI tool is somewhat similar to this and there are also some small details which the Adobe’s software can’t always get right such as specific lighting conditions or directions of shadows.

On the other hand, the Facebook Research methodology, the same process of replacing closed eyes with open ones is dependent on a deep neural network that will supply the missing data while using the context of the area present around the closed eyes.

This is done by the general adversarial network (GAN) which is a similar technology that used in deep fake videos in which a person’s face is swapped to another person’s body.

GAN then uses the data points present on other images of the same person for reference in order to fill the data needed.

The Facebook AI tool will also use identifying marks in order to help in generating the substitute data.

After that, a process called in-painting will start in order to come up with all the necessary data which will be used for eyelids with actual eyes and this exactly where the hard work of GAN system comes into play as it will now need more than one image of the person in order to use them as a reference, and try to not miss out on any detail.

When will Facebook introduce this tool to the masses? Will it be launched as a new feature for its social media platforms?

Questions like these are in many, however, the Facebook AI tool is still in development stages and only time will tell us what kind of revolution will the GAN system being to the world of selfies.

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What You Need To Know About Apple’s War On ‘Digital Fingerprinting’

Most everyone is aware of how tracking cookies work. They’re little pieces of data added to your browser that track your behavior on the web.

Usually, you notice them when you search for something like basketball and every ad you get for the next few days is about basketball.

At its annual WWDC keynote Apple announced that it would work on blocking another way sites and advertisers track you: canvas fingerprinting.

If you haven’t heard of it before, don’t feel too bad. But actually do feel bad because it’s helping advertisers keep an eye on you based on your digital, well, fingerprint.

Canvas fingerprinting actually recognizes your browser of choice based on its configuration. Information about the browser, operating system, fonts and other pieces of data are combined to create a unique profile.

Once the profile is built, it can be shared with other sites and ad networks. In other words, you can be tracked without using cookies.

It’s a bit like if you wore the same clothes to visit a couple stores.

Those initial stores could call other stores and tell them what you’re wearing so as soon as you walk into future establishments, they may not know your name but they know exactly who you are.

Apple says that Safari for macOS Mojave will stop this type of tracking by limiting the browser data that sites can access.

By doing this, instead of a site creating a unique profile of a visitor, it’ll only (theoretically) see exactly the same information it gleaned from another person using Safari.

In other words, everyone that visits the site with Safari will look the same. It’s like everyone wearing the same black pants, black hoodie and dark sunglasses in a store.

If everyone looks alike, it’s tough to track their movement both in the establishment and once they leave.

“Previously you had to opt-out for these things not to track out. Now they’re saying if you want it if you want this you have to opt-in,” said FireEye senior analyst, Parnian Najafi Borazjani.

Meanwhile, Firefox also has some substantial privacy features but doesn’t go quite as far as the upcoming Safari.

Mozilla is working with the TOR project to add a number of privacy and security features to the shared codebase that both Mozilla and TOR use to produce Firefox and TOR browser respectively.”

Canvas Fingerprinting is one such feature, however it is disabled by default and we have no current plans to ship Canvas Fingerprinting in Firefox beyond the Nightly channel,” Selena Deckelmann, senior director of engineering, Firefox runtime told Engadget.

Apple and other browser-building companies can’t block every type of tracking out there. There’s a ton of money to be made watching you surf the internet and selling that information to advertisers.

That cash incentive means we’ll see more elaborate systems meant to see exactly what you’re interested in.

Like all things privacy and security based, it’s an arms race between the makers of tools that’ll keep folks from sharing or leaking too much information and the people that want to gather as much data as possible from us to make a profit.

Safari’s upcoming feature is just another weapon for the consumer to stay anonymous out there while shopping for new shoes.

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Facebook Researchers Used AI To Create A Universal Music Translator

Is Facebook pumping up the volume on what AI can mean to the future of music? You can decide after having a look at what Facebook AI Research scientists have been up to.

A number of sites including The Next Web have reported that they unveiled a neural network capable of translating music from one style, genre, and set of instruments to another.

You can check out their paper, “A Universal Music Translation Network” by authors Noam Mor, Lior Wolf, Adam Polyak, Yaniv Taigman, Facebook AI Research.

A video showing the authors’ supplementary audio samples lets you hear what they did with samples ranging from symphony, string quartet, to sounds of Africa, Elvis and Rihanna samples and even human whistling.

In one example, they said they converted the audio of a Mozart symphony performed by an orchestra to an audio in the style of a pianist playing Beethoven.

Basically, a neural network has been put to work to change the style of music. Listening to samples, one wonders what the AI process is like in figuring out how to carry the music from one work to another?

Does it involve matched pitch? Memorizing musical notes? Greene said no, their approach is an “unsupervised learning method” using “high-level semantics interpretation.

Greene added that you could say “it plays be ear.” The method is unsupervised, in that it does not rely on supervision in the form of matched samples between domains or musical transcriptions, said the team.

Greene also translated, explaining that this was “a complex method of auto-encoding that allows the network to process audio from inputs it’s never been trained on.

In a bigger picture, one can mark the AI attempt to translate styles and instruments as another sure sign of an intersection being crossed between AI and music that can change our pejorative view of “machine” music as inferior and canned.

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